Saturday, February 28, 2015

Red Robin Burger Works opens 4th Chicago location

This week Red Robin Burger Works opened a location at 204 N. Wells in the Loop and the Chicago Foodie Sisters stopped in to check it out on opening day. This was the second Loop location to open this month. Another location, which opened in early February, exists a few blocks down at Madison and Wells.

If you are a fan of Red Robin, you will love Burger Works. It has all of the best of Red Robin's menu items but in a fast, casual setting. The 46-year old brand's new branch, which started about three years ago, also includes restaurants in Washington D.C. and Denver and Robert Geresi, Vice President of Operations tells me that they are actively seeking more sites to add.

“Now, even more community members who live or work in The Loop will enjoy having a fantastic, new option for speedy service, while experiencing Red Robin’s signature gourmet burgers. The Burger Works team understands the importance of this offering to time-crunched lunch guests – and we promise to have guests on their way back to the office in under five minutes from when they order,” said Geresi.

And when they say five minutes, they mean it. We placed an order that was on our table is just over two minutes. Where else are you going to get a gourmet burger that quickly? Burgers start at just $4.99, a surprisingly low price for a gourmet burger in Chicago.

Greece said that they look at Red Robin's biggest sellers and keep 10 of them on the menu at Red Robin Burger Works, along with popular sides like steak fries and sweet potato fries.  They also aim to cover all bases - offering gluten free wraps in place of buns upon request, a garden veggie burger, a turkey burger and a grilled portabella sandwich. Specialty burgers can also be substitued with a grilled chicken breast. They also serve breakfast at the locations with breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos starting at $1.99.

Gears said that they evaluate the menu about every three months and rotate in new items, such as limited time offers that have gone over particularly well.

We tried out the Bacon Cheeseburger, the Sautéed 'Shroom Burger, the Whiskey River BBQ Chicken Salad, the steak fries, the sweet potato fries and an awesome Cookie Magic shake.

The burgers were fantastic, as you'd expect from Red Robin, but put together in record time. It's been a while since I visited a Red Robin and I'd forgotten how good the burgers were. The sweet potato fries with a thai chili ketchup for dipping were phenomenal. The salad had a range Whiskey River BBQ sauce that was not too spicy, but packed with flavor and was topped with crispy onion straws.

For more information on Red Robin Burger Works, or to order online, visit

Familiar elements of the Red Robin decor have been brought in to the Red Robin Burger Works locations.

Thanks to Rob for being a great host as we tried out the newest Red Robin Burger Works location.

About Red Robin Burger Works®
Red Robin Burger Works ( is a smaller, fast-casual restaurant prototype operated by Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB). Red Robin Burger Works serves fiery, fresh food with friendly and quick service. The menu includes many signature Red Robin classic burgers, like the Whiskey River® BBQ, Banzai Burger®, Royal Red Robin Burger® and Guacamole Bacon burger; and new items like chicken tenders, distinctive salads and wraps, as well as Red Robin’s famous seasoned steak fries and tasty milkshakes. To see photos from Red Robin Burger Works, connect with on Facebook!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Breakfast at Round the Clock

A couple years ago a new restaurant opened nearby called Loubie's and it was mainly a breakfast place. Another location already existed in Hammond. The owners also had a couple Round the Clock locations in the area. Round the Clock is a 24-hour family restaurant with several locations in Northwest Indiana and the Chicago suburbs.

Not long after Louie's opened, they switched over to a Round the Clock restaurant as well. However, when I go there, I usually order breakfast. It seems an ideal breakfast spot with countless options for that early morning meal.

Hubby and I stopped for breakfast after dropping the kids off at school. The portions were so big that we each ate only half and took home the rest for a meal later in the day.

I got an all-meat skillet with ham, bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, cheese and veggies.

Hubby got a chorizo omelet that was also loaded with cheese and veggies.

This Round the Clock location is located right at the Torrence Ave. exit from I-80/94 just west of the Indiana border, so if you are traveling through it is a cute, clean reliable place to stop for a good meal.

Round the Clock
17601 Torrence Ave.
Lansing, IL
(708) 418-7244

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Paczki from Old Warsaw on Harlem

So, it was a few days before Fat Tuesday. It was actually the day after  "Fat Thursday" I learned. I dropped off one of the boys at school and as I returned home, I saw a bag on my front porch. There were a couple styrofoam containers in it. 

I thought perhaps my dad had brought something by as he heads out to get take-out food daily. Then when I looked I saw this label on the front from the Old Warsaw Inn on Harlem in Harwood Heights. I knew it wouldn't have been my dad. He rarely ventures out of Northwest Indiana. 

My next guess was my big bro. His office is in the SW burbs and he travels throughout the Chicago area and country on business and sometimes he'll drop off some goodies for me and the kids. I texted. It wasn't him.

Next thought was my friend, Michelle. She said it wasn't her. Next I checked with my neighbor who sometimes leaves things on the porch - usually a bag of clothes or sports stuff that her grandkids have outgrown. Wasn't her. At this point I was getting a little worried. If it wasn't any of them, who would have left it? It looked good, but I really didn't want to eat it without knowing the source. So, it sat there all day. I put a post on Facebook asking for anyone who left me a treat to fess up. Finally, later that day, my friend Michelle, who I had suspected hours earlier admitted that she was the mystery paczki fairy.

I was so relieved to find out it was her. They looked way to good to let them go uneaten, but hey...if a pack of unsealed food was left on your front porch and you had no idea where it came from, you'd be hesitant to eat it, too.

The Old Warsaw is a Polish buffet and they actually serve paczki every day, according to the website. I imagine it's similar to a local place - Warsaw Inn in Lynwood - with a big buffet of pierogi and stuffed cabbage and plenty of other Polish cuisine.  The treats were fantastic and if you happen to be in that neighborhood, be sure to stop for some paczki. They were fantastic! And thanks to Michelle, the Paczki Fairy.

Old Warsaw Inn
4750 N Harlem Ave.
Harwood Heights, IL

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lincoln's O in Highland, Indiana

Way back in the late 1980's when my husband and I were dating in high school, he would take me to Lincoln's in Calumet City where we'd enjoy some phenomenal sandwiches and usually bring home a homemade pie. He would go there on lunch break during the summers and the line would be out the door.

A few years ago the Calumet City location was sold, but the original owners opened a location in downtown Highland, Indiana and it became known as Lincoln O's. The "O" stands for "Original" as there are two other Lincoln's locations, that have the same menu items but are owned by a different family.

There are some awesome specialty sandwiches on the menu - the Bunny Girl, the U.S. Steel, the Toledo, the Stromboli. And hubby's favorite, the Sibley Special - ham, cheese, lettuce and tomato with boiled eggs and my favorite, the Cal City Special - ham, turkey, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato on Italian bread. It's especially good with a side of onion rings. Prices are still pretty reasonable and sandwich are hearty. One of the daughters of the original owners is still there at the register.

Lincoln's O also makes wonderful homemade pies at a fraction of the price of a pie from Baker's Square. If you haven't tried Lincoln's, you are missing out. The recipes date back to the early 1960's when the original location was opened in Gary, In. The place is still a bit old-school (which I love, by the way) with a 50's feel to the dining room with splashes of pastel pink and no website.

I'm a sandwich lover and as much as I adore grilled sandwiches and paninis, there's just nothing like a Cal City special. It remains my very favorite sandwich of all time.

My beloved "Cal City Special" at Lincoln's O

Lincoln's O
2813 Hwy Ave.
Highland, In
(219) 923-4144

Monday, February 23, 2015

Porkchop now open in the Loop

Offering a taste of backwoods Southern cooking, Porkchop is one of Chicago's newest BBQ joints. It's fourth and newest location opened in late January with a grand opening where over 200 were served free sliders and mac and cheese.

The newest Porkchop is located at 29 E. Adams and menu offerings include ribs, pulled pork, chicken and of course, pork chops.

29 E. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60603

Pickwick Society Tearoom: Frankfort, IL

I keep a little list of restaurants that I want to try and Pickwick Society Tearoom has been on that list for far too long. I love tea - and I also love history and antiques and old architecture. I'm the vice president of my local historical society and have authored three historical books. So, I've really been itching to get this this place for a cup of tea and a big helping of yesteryear. I asked my friend, Jen, from the historical society if she'd like to accompany me and we set a date.

The tearoom opened in 2004 and has since moved to its current location on a corner on Kansas Street in historic Frankfort, Illinois in an 1855 building that originally served as a hotel. It's such a pleasant rush of nostalgia just walking through the doors. I felt like I should have been wearing a Victorian dress and gloves. The place is lined with vintage knick-knacks and is also a gift shop.

There's a large selection of teas, available by the cup, mug or pot. I tend to like the fruity teas, so I selected a white mango sorbet tea that was so soothing and refreshing.

I started off with a cup of the soup of the day - Broccoli Cheddar, which was delicious.

Jen ordered an egg salad sandwich on pumpernickel.

I went for the five-cheese quiche. Loved it.

Just look at the floor tiles!

There are a number of fun teas with historical re-entactors. I'd love to get to one. I'm told they sell out very quickly!

Jen enjoying a mug of coffee. (She's not a tea drinker, so she was a wonderful sport to join me.)

Pickwick Society Tearoom
122 Kansas
Frankfort, IL

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Snack time at J. J. Kelley's

You might have noticed before that I've posted about a great local spot called J. J. Kelley's. It's a neighborhood bar that serves really good food. I was there for a recent meeting for a committee I'm on and figured I'd grab a snack before running to the next place. I ordered some of my favorite chicken tenders - mild with ranch dip - and got a bowl of chicken noodle soup to go along with it. It hit the spot!

J.J. Kelley's
2455 Bernice Road
Lansing, IL

Aurelio's Pizza, Munster, IN

Chicagoans love their pizza. And we have so many good options out there. One long-time favorite in the Chicago area is Aurelio's, which originated in 1959 in Homewood, Illinois. There are now more than 35 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Georgia and Nevada with plans to expand further.

To me there are two things that set their pizza apart. One is the thin, crisp crust. The other is their sauce, which is a tad on the sweet side.

My most recent Aurelio's pizza order was a carry-out order from the location in Munster, Indiana. The kids like either sausage only or pepperoni only, so I usually get the largest side with 1/2 of each ingredient.

Hubby likes the veggies loaded on there on top of sausage, so he got a small pizza with sausage, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Have you tried Aurelio's? What's your favorite location? And what are your favorite menu items? for locations, menu and more information.